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Forum: Lens Clubs 2 Days Ago  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 35,142
Views: 3,560,209
Yes. It is a good thing that I have some heavy tripods. It isn't as sharp as the 1.4X-L but it does a pretty good job. I got it for the extra reach when going after deep sky objects as it is a cheap way to get to 800 and still have pretty good quality. Since it only attaches to the high end lenses it should do well for astro. I want to give it a try on the moon tonight to see how it does with that.
Forum: Lens Clubs 2 Days Ago  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 35,142
Views: 3,560,209
Because I really wanted to try out the SMC A 2X-L converter I got. So not a great or even good shot but enough to get an idea of what I am working with.

800mm, f/8, ISO 100, 1/160s
K-3ii
SMC A* 400mm f/2.8 ED [IF]
SMC A 2X-L rear converter
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 2 Days Ago  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
Well if someone asks a question of me I at least try to provide a good answer. Sounds like you found the info useful so I succeeded. Stacking and stitching are just another tool to be used that can provide some useful results and there are all sorts of methods for stacking and combining images. For the regular monthly photo contest I submitted a pixelshift stacked stitched city scape that I took on a cold hazy night and the stacking and stitching was done in Hugin as it is a good tool.

One shot I really want to try if I can get a few weeks of clear nights is an all terminator shot of the moon like this one. I had actually wanted to do one before seeing that but haven't had a stretch of weather to do it and didn't know if it would turn out awesome or a hot mess, but it turns out even more awesome than I would have expected. Hugin is the tool one wants to be using for a shot like that for alignment and then using the enfuse command line tool in it to combine each night's shots. If I could pull it off I would love to get 3+ weeks of shots so you get the waxing and waning contrast across the moon. Stack each nights shots to get a super smooth clear super res image for each night and then align and combine each nights' shot after aligning them in Hugin and blend together using enfuse favoring contrast and saturation. I would probably end up taking 2-3 thousand shots but hey I bought the camera to use it and eventually wear it out.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 2 Days Ago  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
I'm on APS-C as well (K-3 and K-3ii) so getting a true ultrawide on that format is harder, that 16 was a contender as it is substantally wider than than my 28mm and a whole lot better for night shots than the 17mm fisheye takumar. For stacking it really depends on what I am doing with the shots. If it is deep sky images I use Deep Sky Stacker or Astro Pixel Processor (APP), and mostly APP now as it is better. DSS is free while APP is a paid product. For sky scenes with something in the foreground where I won't be stitching images together (similar to your shot)I use Sequator as it has the ability to freeze the ground and freeze the sky and stack each independently. If you need to stitch then stack each stack where the foreground remains the same and stitch in another program. For things like the moon and monster setups where you don't get the entire moon in the frame with a single shot but still what to stack a bunch images and stitch all at once I use Hugin and the tools it comes with. I've had really good luck stacking things like the moon even with a lot of noise using Hugin. There I will do the alignment of all the shots in the GUI and then use the command line tools do the actual combining of aligned shots. I gave up on photoshop for stacking and stitching as tools like Sequator, Hugin, APP, and DSS do a much better job of things once one knows where to use each one. If I am just straight stitching a panorama I will also use MS Image Composite Editor (MS ICE) as it also does a great job with stitching things together so I will stitch in ICE and Hugin and pick the one that turned out the best.

Here is one of the total eclipse from 2019 where I stacked 106 shots in Hugin. There was no stitching as the moon easily fits in the field of view of my 300mm but each shot had a lot of noise as that was my first eclipse attempt and didn't know what I was doing. I really had to push each shot a lot.
This one is 237 stacked images in DSS taken with my 400mm
This one is 329 shots stitched and stacked with the Hugin tools. Each shot was at 2000mm and f/20
And finally this is one similar to yours with 143 images stacked in Sequator. That is an exceptionally dark location so you can get a back lit image from the light from the milky way. I even got a fair amount of sky glow (the greens and purples in the sky) which I had never seen before.

When it comes to distortion it usually isn't a problem with a handful of shots and yes hugin does a very good job of handling it with a few shots with not much movement of stars but lots of programs will struggle with large movements of things across the frame unless there is very little distortion.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 2 Days Ago  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
I did the same things except I first posted a shot from an ultra telephoto instead of an ultra wide, so not even close.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 2 Days Ago  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
That was one of the many UWAs I considered for astro but settled on the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D. I cleanly stacked 140+ milky way images with it wide open. The extra low distortion with that lens really helps in the that regard.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 2 Days Ago  
Wide angle lenses ?
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 40
Views: 1,562
On my spotmatic I really liked the S-M-C 28mm f/3.5 (49mm filter) but always wanted a bit wider. I eventually got the S-M-C 17mm f/4 fisheye takumar and that was hard to use as I really didn't know what to do with a fisheye with a 180 degree diagonal so it was a hard lesson to learn. I really probably wanted something like a 20mm or 24mm. That said I used my 28/3.5 all the time and it was one of my favorite lenses.

On digital with the K-3 I still use the 28mm but not as much. I found I used the 17mm fisheye a lot more but for UWA I got the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 for astro shooting but it gets used a lot even during the day now. When it comes to getting a wide or ultra wide, or any lens for that matter, ask yourself what problem are you trying to solve. You have the 18-55 so do you want wider, do you need something faster, do you want better image quality, etc.? Once can throw all sorts of money at things and not get the right solution mostly because you are asking the wrong question. There are all sorts of recommendations for good wide and ultrawide lenses here but what is right for you depends on what problem you are trying to solve. High distortion fisheye lenses can make for some fun effects if you utilize the distortion, if you are shooting with lots of light then even the old S-M-C 17mm f/4 fisheye is great once you stop it down to f/8 or f/11. If you need faster you will have to go with a modern lens. If you want a good low geometric distortion lens there are modern ones available. Do you just want a bit wider so you don't have to stitch images, or do you really want to go wide and get the Rokinon 8mm for some real ultra wide fun. Just think of what you want. Also if you want to see what people have done with some wides/ultrawides go check out this contest thread for ideas of how different lenses shoot.

For me with the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 I do lots of astro shooting and the old 17mm f/4 fisheye takumar really sucks at that so I wanted a faster ultrawide lens that I could run wide open with very low geometric distortion. Those properties solve a lot of the problems with doing astrophotography, you have lots of light gathering ability, sharpness at wide apertures, and with low geometric distortion you can stack images without getting lots of stacking artefacts. So with all that there were very few lenses that met the criteria and I happened on a used Laowa at a reasonable price from a forum member whos opinion I trust so I got that one.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 2 Days Ago  
Decoding camera industry trends
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 21
Views: 971
Then I must have a massive amount of street cred with the auto 110 and 5 of the 6 lenses
Forum: Photographic Technique 4 Days Ago  
Sharpness
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 52
Views: 2,425
I just find this image humorous. A picture of someone taking a picture of a painting.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 4 Days Ago  
Thematic Post & Discuss Your Astro Tracer Star Trails & Star Shots
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 48
Views: 2,812
I looked at your original post. To answer the question you asked there what is in your field of view I passed the URL of your image here to have it plate solve it. The results of plate solving can be found here.

So now you know what is showing in your image. So we can move on to how to improve. When doing astro shooting exposure matters and if you can't get enough in a single shot (you never can get enough) you will need to use stacking software. For those starting out I suggest using Deep Sky Stacker or Sequator as they are free and do well enough for beginners. I would still seek to increase exposure times for each frame.

Since you mention you don't have any tracking (astrotracer or equatorial) your best option is to use the rule of 200. This is a modern variation of the rule of 500 that was used for film but digital doesn't have reciprocity failure and digital is sharper, so because of that you use 200 instead of 500. This rule says that your maximum single frame exposure time should be no more than 200/(focal length) in seconds. So with a 50mm lens it means you can use a 4 second exposure for a single exposure and not have much noticeable trailing. I would say don't bother using the in camera HDR options as they expect things to not move and they do move.

Your images isn't too bad for one's first astro image. it shows noticeable vignetting but with a pushed image shot wide open with one of the 50/1.4 that is expected. It also shows clear coma in the corners, another thing that is common. Finally I see those wonderful purple halos that show up when wide open on most lenses and more so when the focus isn't perfect.

So let's work on solving those problems
First solving the purple halos. This is often caused by the focus being slightly off. There are focusing aids you can get to help you nail the focus and the most common preferred one is a bahtinov mask. You can buy them premade and this one should work pretty well for your short lenses. If you don't have one you can get a very good focus by manually focusing in magnified live view and minimizing the stars and when you get it close look at some of the flickering pixels. You will find that eventually a bunch of those flickering pixels will stay on, these are dim stars and when you get the perfect focus they consistently stay on.

Next will solve the rest of the purple fringing, most of the coma and most of the vignetting. To do this you will need to stop the lens down. Almost every lens needs to be stopped down some to get great when shooting astro. Even legendary astro glass like the Rokinon/Samyang 135mm f/2 UMC, Laowa 12mm F/2.8, and SMC A* 400mm F/2.8 ED [IF]. I also have some 50mm lenses I run for astro, one is the S-M-C 50/1.4 Takumar and the other is the SMC A 50/1.2 and I will run both of these lenses at f/2.8. This removes almost all of the coma, basically all the color fringing (I maybe could count 1 pixel but that might be bad tracking), and basically the vignetting. So I would run your 50/1.4 at f/2.8. Even the modern DFA * 50/1.4 needs to be run at 2.8 for astro shooting.

The bright sky is normal, especially in light polluted areas. This is normal and can be clean up with post processing. But for someone starting out focus on taking shots and getting them stacked using a program like Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) or Sequator. Use a remote release (cabled or wireless doesn't matter) also use the 2s delay as that will cause the camera to flip the mirror up for a couple of seconds before opening the shutter. This allows shake to die down giving better results. As far as tripods go you want the biggest heaviest, most ridged you can find, or in my case build. I also have a Manfrotto 3058 with the 3057 head which is a big sturdy one too. From there I would shoot a few shots and reframe to shoot more and just keep repeating that until you are cold, tired, or sick of being outside.

For more info I wrote this up a few years ago to get beginners pointed in the right direction. It doesn't tell everything as I could probably write volumes on the subject now but is enough to get someone more or less off to taking some good starter images.

If you want better responses go join the astro group, we are friendly and will usually fall over each other to help others grown in ability.
Forum: General Photography 02-17-2021, 04:03 PM  
Looking for an inexpensive (external) backup solution for my laptop
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 39
Views: 1,226
I'm in the inexpensive external hard drive camp. I have a couple of 4 TB drives I bought a few years back for about $100 each which seems to be about the best prices vs storage point still. I also have a big NAS machine (36TB of useable redundant storage). When it comes to backups the rule I recommend is the 3-2-1 rule:
3 backup copies of the data
2 different mediums
1 copy off site

Granted some data I'm not super concerned about it getting lost so I put forth minimal effort in backing it up. However for data that is really important I have lots of copies in several places. Finally if concerned with theft of devices and not wanting to have the thieves get access to the data there is encryption. I don't bother with devices with built in encryption as that is a black box and while some is probably correctly implemented there have been lots of cases of it not. So for encryption I use VeraCrypt as the current version is derived from the well regarded TrueCrypt project but is maintained. Lots of security experts have looked at it in detail and have stated it is good which is more than one can say about the devices with built in encryption.
Forum: General Photography 02-16-2021, 12:52 PM  
Is there a name for perspective of extreme wide angle rectilinear lens
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 10
Views: 570
I'm surprised you survived.
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-16-2021, 09:08 AM  
Sharpness
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 52
Views: 2,425
I think most of up have gone through that phase. I still look for those absolutely crisp lenses but only for doing astrophotography where getting nice pinpoint stars without halos, color fringing, coma etc but for regular shooting sharp enough is what I am looking for and basically anything made now is sharp enough. Even my awful Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 is sharp enough most of the time. I actually only own 1 modern design digital era lens and it is the one I like the least but that is personal preference. I like lenses that have some character and offer something unique. My most used daylight lenses are my SMC A 50/1.2, 77ltd, Vivitar Series 1 135mm f/2.3 (M42 mount), D FA 100/2.8 WR Macro (non modern design), Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro (the one with the Zen barrel coating), and S-M-C 28mm f/3.5 Takumar.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 02-12-2021, 08:50 PM  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
Now that I am a bit more with it (that was a rough few weeks with work). I tracked down an image that I think shows off an actual ultra wide the Laowa 12mm f/2.8. The Frank Schott old stone barn out by Chokio, MN. I got to drive back in the rain
Attachment 525203
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 02-12-2021, 03:21 PM  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
It is a bit big to be a FA limited, but otherwise I agree it is a very nice lens.
Forum: General Photography 02-12-2021, 01:53 PM  
Is there a name for perspective of extreme wide angle rectilinear lens
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 10
Views: 570
It is just perspective distortion and it really shows with things that have a dramatic difference from various points to the center of focus. For example in this shot I was very close to the barn (probably only 6 to 10 feet), but the upper parts of the barn are all canted away as they are much farther from the center of focus of the lens than the parts straight out.

Just embrace the perspective distortion and don't worry about things. I specifically sought out an extremely low geometric distortion UWA since I use it a lot for shooting things at infinity that require stacking. It still shows perspective distortion for things at varying distances but playing with perspective is fun. Just like with my 17mm fisheye where that distortion can get really fun. The very low distortion of the lens I took the daytime barn shot with was useful for stacking the 143 shots used for this image so that I didn't end up with odd shaped stars since the other geometric distortion can cause all sorts of artefacts in astro shots.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-12-2021, 01:38 PM  
I think I broke my Spomatic f
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 2
Views: 406
Sorry to hear I still love my spotmatic F and they are a pretty robust camera. I would take aslyfox's advice and find a repair shop. Another option is just to get another one as they aren't that expensive. The last one I bought was very near mint and I pad like $60 for it and it came with a 55mm f/1.8 SMC body cap in similar condition. By very near mint I mean the film canister holder didn't have any scratches or wear and there was no wear on the exterior of the camera. My other one almost looks like it has been run over but still works great.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-12-2021, 01:33 PM  
K-7: Weird vertical lines in areas of images
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 29
Views: 1,131
I am thinking it may be some component starting to fail in the read out from the sensor. Possibly slightly higher resistance in a connection or a connection that has become marginal. Another guess I have may be marginal power so maybe try a new or different battery. Still another guess might be a problem with the analogue to digital converter possibly related to my previous 2 guesses. These are based off of just how regular the pattern is so it seems like a systematic error. Apart from a power issues where trying with a fresh battery and/or cleaning contacts I don't know what one would do to resolve the issue.
Forum: Lens Clubs 02-10-2021, 09:33 PM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 35,142
Views: 3,560,209
I am familiar with such things and how scopes are specified so am familiar with the aperture and f number listings. I have looked at scopes as something to add to the collection of astro equipment but there are other things that are needed first to actually use them effectively like a big enough equatorial, an autoguider, and guide scope (these are things I am looking to get in the hopefully near future). Once you get past about the 400-600mm range scopes really start becoming the better option for astro shooting. However I still would have the problem of wanting to get above 2000mm and there you go get reflectors with coma correctors, field flatteners, and adapters so you can hang a camera off the back.

The problem now is that I can reach out to 560mm at f/4 (and I can run at f/4) and if I spring for the 2X-L converter I get to 800 at f/5.6 so that would get a lot of the Messier catalogue so I would likely be served better by going to a big aperture reflector (maybe a 10" or 12" to start since I am pretty close to a 6" already) instead of chasing other longer refractors. Astrophotography really can get expensive as the solution to your problems is very often throw gear (more money) at it.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-10-2021, 09:48 AM  
SD Reader suggestions
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 31
Views: 1,218
I've always just bought the fairly inexpensive ones at micro center. I've purchased 2 over the last 16 years and that was only because thedouble sided sticky tape I used to attach the first one to the side of the old computer stuck a bit too good and when I went to take it off and put it on the new computer I broke it. I think they are made by Inland and cost like $7. I've never checked to see if they support the write/lock switch but I use linux and have it set to default mount those as read only
Forum: Lens Clubs 02-09-2021, 09:42 PM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 35,142
Views: 3,560,209
I have the 1.4X-L and actually wanted the 500/4.5 (screw mount) for years not really knowing what I would do with it. I haven't found a lot of things where I go I want a focal length above 500mm or so but less than 2000mm. The moon is one such object where getting to about 1000mm produces really good results as your image shows but then I think what else would I photograph and come up blank. If I went after planets I would want to be at over 2000mm. I now chase the bigger Messier objects and even then some of them at 400mm is a bit much (M45 looking at you and difficulty keeping you in the frame). The smaller ones again I would want something up around 2000mm
Forum: Lens Clubs 02-06-2021, 12:00 PM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 35,142
Views: 3,560,209
Now you are tempting me.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 02-04-2021, 05:29 PM  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
Well that was bad form for me. I blame being too tired from working too many hours of late as I should have caught that when I read it. I guess I will have to do some digging to see what I can find on the short end. I have one of those really good ultrawides, now just to see if I have an image that makes it shine.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 02-04-2021, 12:12 PM  
Contest Something Special About That Lens - Volume 1, Issue 1
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 43
Views: 2,403
This is my bad post where I completely missed that this was for ultrawides. Edited to remove the old image and text.
Forum: Pentax K-3 02-04-2021, 08:45 AM  
Pentax K-3 - Tactical Photo Camera
Posted By MossyRocks
Replies: 9
Views: 1,017
I love what these cameras can take. I've never forzen mine in ice but have used them in -20F to -25F some what regularly and apart from batteries not lasting very long without a warm up in the pocket they have performed fantastically. I have had a lot of frost on them as well as dew while doing astro.
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